How Many Neon Tetras in a 10-Gallon Tank

neon tetras in a 10-gallon tank

Many of you can relate to the desire to have an attractive home aquarium. You want beautiful, bright, and colorful fish. It can be quite confusing to choose a particular fish from over 85 million aquarium fish. If you are having the same problem, a simple and the best solution is to keep Neon Tetra Fish. They are easy to care for, and you can house them in a starter tank, i.e., a 10-Gallon Tank.

How many neon tetras you can keep in a 10-Gallon Tank?
The answer is 5 to 6 Neon Tetras.
Taking the golden rule as reference: 1 inch of fish requires 1 gallon of water to survive. Neon tetras can grow up to 1.75 inches. Thus, 1 neon tetra requires around 2 gallons of aquarium water. So using the simple mathematical formula: 10 Gallons/1.75 inches = 5.7 which is equivalent to 6 neon tetras. Therefore, you can keep 5-6 neon tetras in a 10-Gallon tank.

About Neon Tetra

The Tetra fish family consists of some of the easiest to maintain fish. The neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) beholds a great appearance and attraction in your aquarium. Neon tetras captivate people’s attention from their sensational coloration. The body consists of red, blue, and translucent colors.

Even when you are clear that you want to purchase neon tetras, you might not know about the right quantity of fish to keep. It is difficult to determine the requirements for a specific number in the aquarium.

If you are having similar problems, here is an article that can help you decide how many species of neon tetra you can house. Along with it, this article will also provide you with general information to regulate your tank.

Continue reading for more.

Equipment You might Need For 10-Gallon Tank

  1. Aqua Culture 10 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit
  2. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter
  3. NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light
  4. Orlushy Submersible Aquarium
  5. Pawfly 4 Inch Aquarium Net Fine Mesh
  6. API Master Freshwater Test Kit
  7. hygger Carbon Fiber 6 in 1 Aquarium Cleaning Tool Kit
  8. Python No Spill Clean

Housing Neon Tetras

The neon tetra comes from the freshwaters of South America. These fish are very popular and highly on demand. The reason neon tetras are preferred and suitable for your home aquarium is because of its nature. These tetras are compatible, energetic, and peaceful and adapt to the different water parameters as well.

If you are aware of tetra fish, you must know that these fish are shoaling fish. This means that the tetras prefer to be housed in groups of at least 5. Here, we are talking about a 10-gallon tank, which is quite small. Thus, you cannot force much fish into a compact space. So, what is the right fish number?

First, you should know how big neon tetras get. The size of a fish helps to determine the number of fish you need to keep. Generally, neon tetras grow up to 1.5 to 2 inches in length. Now, all you have to do is estimate the number of tetras by calculating.

Number of Neon Tetras in 10-gallon tank

Aqua Culture 10 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit

It is not challenging to calculate how many fish can fit in a specific area. You have estimated the size of your fish. In the case of neon tetras, let us assume that they grow up to 1.75 inches in length. Even if these tetras grow mostly up to 1.6 inches only, you have to assume a bit larger size. This way, you can be safe, and your fish can have good space in the tank.

If you follow the general rule of thumb, 1 gallon of water is required for every inch of the fish. You can follow this rule mostly when the fish size is under 3 inches, like neon tetras. Hence, for neon tetras, you will need 1.75 gallons of water for every 1.75 inches. By calculation, you will get 10 gallons / 1.75 inches = 5.7, which is equivalent to 6 neon tetras.

From this calculation, you can conveniently keep 6 neon tetras in a 10-gallon tank. You might as well be able to keep up to 7 tetras. However, this might be a bit too much. I personally feel like having minimum fish can enhance the quality of the tank, as it will be easier to maintain.

If you calculate all the space that will be covered by decorations, you will be able to put only up to 4 to 5 neon tetra fish in the 10-gallon tank.

You can also create a good bond with your fish if you have a minimum number. Not just that, replicating the water condition and tank environment will be simple as well.

Is it possible to add more neon tetras to the 10-gallon tank?

Neon tetras are very active swimmers. The tetras love to swim in open spaces in your tank. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not put neon tetras into a compact and crowded tank.

You will always have to play safe when it comes to housing the tetras. When you go against the fish’s nature, it will definitely affect their health. If the aquarium environment stresses the tetras, then the fish cannot display their full potential.

If you still want to add more neon tetras to your tank, then 10 gallons will not be enough. You will at least need a 20-gallon community aquarium. A 20-Gallon fish tank can hold 10-13 Neon Tetras.

The fact that these tetras are schooling fish does not really help in a small aquarium. You will also need a good tank environment such as decorations and substrates that the fish will love to play in.

Also Read: Fun And Interesting Facts About Neon Tetra

Adding extra neon tetras along with decorations and other equipment in a 10-gallon tank will not be possible. Likewise, adding more fish means there will be an increase in the development of toxins and wastes. Therefore, you should try to keep things modest and sustainable for your tetras.

Tank Conditions In 10-Gallon Tank For Neon Tetra

The most important factor that you should consider when keeping any kind of fish is their environmental condition. You cannot be careless regarding this as the health of your fish depends on it. Hence, you should be thorough regarding tank maintenance.

Especially for neon tetras, they require special tank conditions. The neon tetras are hardy fish. However, that does not mean that they can survive drastic changes in water parameters. These tetras need a mature tank. To mature a tank and boost the nitrogen cycle, you can use API Quick Start Nitrifying Bacteria too.

We take care of our health and body when it feels like our environment is not favorable. As we take care of our needs, we should be able to provide the same level of care for our fish. Here are some of the conditions needed by the 10-gallon tank.

Maintain Water Temperature On 10-Gallon Tank

A fish’s body cannot produce its own heat. This means that fish are cold-blooded species that solely depend on the temperature of the water and surroundings to regulate their body temperature. This is the reason that you must always maintain your tank temperature according to the needs of the fish.

Neon tetras require a temperature that ranges from 72° F to 78°F. To regulate this temperature, you can use aquarium heaters that are available commercially. In order to monitor the temperature, you can use a thermometer outside the tank.

pH and Hardness

Tetras are freshwater fish that can withstand a slightly more range of pH levels. Neon tetras also like to live in water that has neutral or slightly acidic properties.

For this, you will need to maintain your tank water at a pH level from 6 to 7. Generally, most neon tetra owners like to keep the pH level to 6.5.

When it comes to water hardness, tetras prefer soft water. Therefore, the water hardness for neon tetra aquarium should be less than 10 dGH.

You can also use peat bags to lower the pH level if needed. This can also help to make the water softer.

Best Filtration System On 10-Gallon Tank

AquaClear, Fish Tank Filter, 5 to 20 Gallons, 110v, A595

Neon tetras captured in the wild are known to be the hardiest. Nowadays, most neon tetras that are available in pet stores and home aquariums come from fish farming. Due to this, neon tetras are more delicate than wild tetras. Therefore, this tetra needs more care and extra effort to care.

If you are determined to house neon tetras, you must be aware of all their tank requirements. For instance, you should know that neon tetras are not suitable if you have a newly cycled tank. These tetras will need a more mature tank that has been cycled for at least 4 months. If you are not able to achieve this, then neon tetras are not for you.

In a mature tank, bacteria maintain the water conditions in the tank, making it healthier for your fish. These bacteria decompose and break down all the organic wastes into harmless compounds. As your fish produces a constant release of ammonia and wastes from food and feces, a good filtration system is required. The filtration helps to break these harmful materials into less toxic chemicals. The cycle should be carried out without any fish in the tank.

Once you achieve this, you will need to monitor the tank constantly. Since we are talking about a small 10-gallon tank, you can use a basic HOB (Hang on Back) filter or a sponge filter.

Another neon tetra filter I recommend is the Aquaclear Power Filter. These filters are durable and help to provide a clean water home for your fish in the long run.

Decorations in the 10-gallon Neon Tetra Tank

If done properly, you can have a masterpiece of an aquarium. Therefore, while decorating the tank, you should know the characteristics of the fish you are going to keep. When it comes to neon tetras, your mind needs to keep in mind the hiding spaces. These tetras tend to hide if they feel threatened.

For this, you need to plant your aquarium tank heavily. You can buy some aquatic live plants or fake plants. You can also add decore, leaf litter, and driftwood. Doing this will make your neon tetras feel like they are in their natural habitat.

In addition, keep in mind that while housing the neon tetra in a 10-gallon tank, you do not add other unnecessary ornamental decorative items.


You need to make sure that neon tetras do not eat the substrate. For this, you need to add substrates that are larger than the fish’s mouth. Neon tetras do not like bright substrate, as they can cause stress. You should also avoid keeping light substrates because it can make neon tetras look washed.

ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia Powder Type (3 Liters)


I have interacted with many fish owners, and the common problem they face is feeding their fish. Most people do not understand the amount of food and the timing of the food required by the fish. This leads to fish being malnourished or overfed.

Feeding your fish is quite simple. You may need to feed neon tetras two to three times a day. Now, all you need to do is pick a suitable time for feeding and stick to it. Since these tetras are small, you may need to crush your food items. Feed your fish with what they can consume within 3 minutes.

You can feed neon tetras with dried blood worm, flake foods, pellets, live foods, brine shrimp as well as some plant foods.


Overfeeding is one of the main reasons that your fish becomes unhealthy. You may not realize it, but your fish will have a significant impact on their health due to excess food. This can also cause some disturbance in the water condition due to the development of by-products from all the uneaten food. Therefore, keep in mind that you do not suffocate your fish from overfeeding.

Regular Maintenance for 10-gallon Neon Tetra Tank

Once you have finished setting up the tank, you will need to maintain it regularly. When it comes to tank preservation, the health of your fish is the utmost priority. Checking up on your fish regularly can help you detect any kind of changes and problems in the tank easily.

The things that you need to consider apart from different tank conditions are the equipment present in your tank. This can be the lighting system of the tank as well as filters and heaters. You need to clean them regularly so that the equipment will not get any harmful materials.

Another thing that you should follow is changing the water. You will need to change or replace at least 20% of the water every other week. You can scrub out the unwanted wastes such as algae food waste, fish waste from the substrate, tank’s glass, and decorations.

A detailed guide about Neon Tetras is mentioned in our other article. Please have a look if you want to know about Neon Tetras.


I hope that you got good knowledge regarding dos and don’ts with respect to keeping neon tetras in a 10-gallon tank. Housing a fish is very similar to raising other pets. They need proper care, timely feeding, and a secure home to thrive. I hope you are able to provide all of this to your fish.

If you want to know more about other tetra fish, you can check out our other articles as well.


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